2 Choy Sum Recipes For Beginners 菜心食谱

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2 Choy sum recipes for beginners. 

I am more familiar with this Asian vegetable as 菜心 (cai xin) its mandarin name. However I believe in the US and other parts of the world, the Cantonese equivalent, choy sum is a more common name. It is also known as the Chinese flowering cabbage, yow choy, and yow choy sum (those with yellow flowers).

Chinese or Cantonese, the name literally translates as "heart of the vegetable".

If you are thinking of finding out more about this vegetable, its scientific name is brassica parachinensis. A mouthful, I know. 

Unlike the bok choy, the choy sum stems are slender and thin. The stems are pale green while the leaves are dark green. 

It is supposed to contain a certain plant hormone that can increase the production of anti-carcinogenic protease. It also enhances the detoxification effect of the liver and is supposed to be quite good for boils and skin blemishes.

Like most Chinese vegetables, this Asian vegetable has large amount of vegetable fiber which aids bowel movements and prevent constipation. The fiber also binds with bad cholesterol in other foods and eliminate it through the bowels. This reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body. It boosts immunity with its high beta-carotene and vitamin C levels.

Finally, cai xin has the highest level of calcium amongst vegetables. Sounds like a super vegetable right?

I find a lot of people mix  菜心 (cai xin) up with 芥蓝 (gai lan) aka Chinese broccoli. They may look similar but texture is different and may make or break a recipe you are trying. Leaves of the Chinese broccoli do not do well in soups. Tough and bitter. 

This is gai lan. See how thick the stems are.

How To Prepare Choy Sum

Yow choy is a very versatile vegetable. It can be prepared in so many ways. Quick-fry, braise, blanch and serve with other condiments, add to fried noodles, and to soups.

It is a favourite with many local hawkers in Singapore. It is added to noodle soups, fried noodles, fried rice, steamed chicken rice, and as a side dish for chicken rice and wonton noodles. I think it is because it keeps better than other leafy vegetables and it is cheap. 

It cooks up fairly quickly after preparation. Do not leave it to stand for too long. Lastly, do not eat left-over choy sum. It is best consumed fresh.

Recipe 1: A simple choy sum recipe with fresh fish balls

This is a quick boiled soup recipe using ready ingredients with little preparation. Fish balls are easily found in Singapore's supermarkets. They are usually made from a mixture of fish and flour although handmade ones are made with 100% fish. 

Ingredients

Method

  1. Thaw the cooked fishballs if you have not done so. Cut them into halves or quarters
  2. Cut the choy sum into bite-sized sections and wash thoroughly
  3. Bring the soup stock to a boil
  4. Add the choy sum and fishballs
  5. Cook till the choy sum is soft but still green and the fishballs are floating on the soup
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  7. Drizzle with sesame seed oil before serving

You can make your own fishballs. You can also try using homemade shrimp balls

Recipe 2: Blanched choy sum

In Chinese homes, choy sum is frequently stir-fried with garlic and oil. The problem is that home stir-fries usually lack the fragrance of the wok heat. We just don't know how to control the stove. 

Personally, I find stir-fry very messy, oily and dangerous...flying oil drops. 

I noticed that chicken rice hawkers serve steamed or blanched choy sum drizzled lightly with soy sauce or oyster sauce. It tastes just as good. 

Here's my version:

Ingredients

  • A bunch of choy sum
  • Salt, and cooking oil and cooking wine
  • 2 small cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of fried shallots (optional)
  • Soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seed oil

Method

  1. Cut the choy sum into sections that can fit your serving plate. Wash and drain for use
  2. Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of cooking wine and cooking oil
  3. Add the choy sum and cook till they are soft and limp but still green
  4. Remove and drain well
  5. Plate the choy sum onto your serving plate
  6. Chop the garlic finely and place on top of your choy sum
  7. In a small mixing bowl, mix the oyster sauce, sugar, sesame seed oil, and soy sauce well
  8. Drizzle over the vegetables
  9. Garnish with some fried shallots before serving 

Some recipes include drizzling some hot oil over the whole dish to spice and heat up the dish before serving. 

I hope you enjoy these 2 choy sum recipes. Simple and easy for beginner cooks. 

Do you have a vegetable garden?

1 Bag 200 Seeds Choy Sum

Happy Souping, Phoebe

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